The whether or not to split the bill on a first date debate has been one that has divided feminist discourse for years. There’s the argument that in a heterosexual dating scenario, if equality is what we’re after, why should one party be expected to ‘be a gentleman’ and pay for someone who they’ve just met? Then there’s the unfortunate fact that equality isn’t anywhere near where we’re at and women are likely to be making less than men—even Jennifer Lawrence makes less than Leonardo DiCaprio when she’s the top-billed actor!—so perhaps the man in the scenario, if there is one, should pay.
There’s the rule some people follow: if you are the one who does the asking out, you should be the one who pays (I concur. I think?). And there are others, of course, who find it condescending and rude when someone won’t let them split the bill. This debacle naturally gets a lot more confusing in non-binary or same-sex situations.
Confused about where you stand? Me too. You take the first date, I’ll take the second?!
This week, Hailey Bieber bravely tackled the question head-on when getting candid about dating red flags in an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show with Insecure actress Yvonne Orji. During a game, the pair held up a red flag whenever they thought something was a big no-no in a relationship. They both agreed to the first question: that a partner going through your phone is a red flag, and Bieber candidly admitted to being a “big, fat red flag for that one” for doing it before.
“I think if you’re going to be in a relationship with someone and they can’t trust you and that’s why they’re going through your phone, then…” she trailed off. Orji replied, “So I guess that relationship didn’t work,” to which Bieber pulled a face that I interpreted as her alluding to actually it did—Bieber and her husband Justin have been open about having huge trust issues at the beginning of their marriage, after all.
The next question was about whether someone having never gone to therapy is a red flag. Orji said yes—she wants someone who’s working on themself—while Bieber noted she wouldn’t necessarily say it’s a red flag because therapy isn’t something that’s accessible to everyone. “But I would say,” she caveats. “That if you’re in a very serious relationship with someone, you’re engaged or you’re heading towards being married, I think getting into therapy is something that’s really important.”
The next question—they ask to split the bill with you 50/50—the pair disagreed too: Orji popped her red flag straight up, saying, “Well, that’s not a date!” While Bieber kept hers down. “Hear me out!,” Bieber said. “You get asked out on a date. You’re a strong, independent woman who earns her own money. You might personally feel more comfortable if they would split the bill with you.”
“No. That’s my brother or my roommate. No.” Orji replied. “Take me out, spend all your money on me, and we’re going to have a great time.” Still confused? Same.